At a glance: Molly M Designs is a line of incredibly intricate geometric jewelry and home goods, all cut and etched with a laser cutter or 3D printed for architectural precision.
Who’s behind the brand? Molly McGrath got her masters degree in architecture at UC Berkeley and in the process spent a lot of time using a laser cutter to make architectural models out of birch plywood. From there it was just a small leap (though definitely not a linear one) to using the same birch plywood and laser cutters to create jewelry. She attended a handful of craft fairs, and quickly realized that this was her real path, quitting her day job and dedicating herself to her creations full-time. She now has two laser cutters of her own (named Larry and Lola), and an assistant to help her produce the large quantities of product that are in demand, as she sells not only retail through her site but wholesale to over 150 stores in the US and abroad.
What do they do? Molly has created a huge collection of jewelry, small pouches, and home goods like coasters and trivets, using an incredible variety of material and her trusty architectural laser cutters. There’s such a wide variety of goods it’s almost mind-boggling, but it’s all united by her architectural aesthetics and impeccable taste. Her sense of texture, color, and intricate geometries is truly magical. She also does an impressive series of prints that translate her intricate patterns into two dimensions of layered fabric, paper, and bamboo veneer that you could get lost in for hours. And recently she has taken to recycling the tiny scraps of fabric and leather that are cut out by the laser cutter to create one of a kind mosaic pieces that are true works of art. Many of her patterns and designs are repeated in different products in her different collections, and it’s exciting to see how they translate through different materials, color palettes and scales.
What materials do they use? She uses all kinds of sustainable and responsibly sourced materials including leather, suede, merino wool felt, gold and rhodium plated brass and stainless steel (3D printed for her by Ponoko), waxed linen thread from a small manufacturer in Ohio, wood (responsibly farmed birch, bamboo, walnut and cherry and recycled scraps from local woodworkers), and even incorporates japanese and dutch fabrics into some of her pieces. The magic of all this is not just in the vast variety of materials she uses, and how they all meld so coherently within each piece and collection, but also how she transforms them, so that it’s almost impossible to tell at first glance what’s what.
Where are they based? The Molly M Designs studio is in the Mission district in San Francisco, California.
Bonus feel-good aspect? A portion of her profits is donated to Nest, a non-profit dedicated to collaborating with responsible artisan businesses around the world via training and business development.
Editors’ favorites from the line? The sheer volume of goods makes it incredibly hard to choose favorites, but we are especially wowed by the big statement necklaces like the intricate layered Hajidah 2 and the powerful Gold Atlas. The etched leather pouches and coasters are also stunning in the way the fine details play off the simple minimalist color palette. But again, we have to emphasize, there is so much good stuff to be found on Molly M’s site, it is almost impossible to pick a favorite!
Where can I get the goods? The number one place would be the Molly M website, because you can find everything she makes in one place and get it straight from the hands of the designer. That said, Molly M is becoming wildly popular and is carried by over 150 brick and mortar stores in the US, Canada and Australia, as well as by a number of online retailers including Koromiko, Leif, Muhs Home, Beam, Zola, Black Lamb, Red Sail, Greener Grass Design, and Fab.